Challenging Behavior

Even the sweetest, most loving toddler has challenging behaviour sometimes. “What did I do wrong?” you may ask yourself as your child throws a temper tantrum because they didn’t get the cereal they wanted for breakfast. Don’t worry. A tantrum doesn’t mean you did anything wrong. It just means you have a toddler.

You won’t be able to avoid challenging behaviour entirely, but there are things you can do to make it happen less often.

• Try to make sure your toddler gets regular meals, snacks, naps and physical activity.
• Let your toddler know what will happen. For example: “We are going to the store. We will buy some bananas. We are not going to buy any candy.”
• Help your child name their emotions. For example: “You don’t like nap time. You are angry that it’s nap time.”
• Let your toddler make simple choices to give them a sense of control. For example: “Do you want to wear your red jacket or your blue jacket today?”
• Create a daily routine so that your toddler knows what to expect.
• Notice good behaviour and praise your child. For example: “Thank you for holding my hand when we crossed the street. Good job!”
• Distract your toddler when you see that they’re getting to their breaking point. Example: “Oh, wow, look at the big dog over there!”
Try these tips to for positive parenting through challenging behaviour.

It can be hard to stay calm when your toddler is going through a time of temper tantrums, dawdling or whining. It’s important to take care of your own needs during this time. Reach out to other parents, vent to your friends and take time for yourself.

Get tips on dealing with temper tantrums.
Get tips on dealing with dawdling and whining.
Get tips on how to stay calm during challenging behaviour.

If you feel that you may lose control with your toddler and hurt them, put them in a safe place and call someone for help – your spouse, a friend, your Public Health Nurse, or HealthLink BC at 8-1-1.